MADISON — Kids to Love cut the ribbon on their first Safe Haven baby box Wednesday in Madison. The box, mounted outside Madison Fire and Rescue Station No. 1, locks once a baby has been placed inside and the door is closed. An alarm alerts medical staff on-site, and they can secure the newborn from inside the building and the process is anonymous.
Kids to Love began working on expanding the state's Safe Haven law in the spring of 2023 when it became apparent that changing abortion laws would lead to more children in need of a loving home in Alabama. The Legislature passed House Bill 473 later that year, expanding the law to allow a mother to surrender a child under 45 days old to fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week year-round, provided they have at least one emergency medical services personnel.
In a statement, Kids to Love founder and CEO Lee Marshall said, "We knew there would be a need for these baby boxes in Alabama. We are thankful that the city of Madison saw the need as well." Adding, "We also are grateful that our donor saw the need and made a generous donation that will ensure mothers have a safe and anonymous way to turn their children over to agencies that will work together in the children's best interests."
Torch Technologies was the donor for Madison's box. Torch is headquartered in Huntsville and is a federal government contractor across the U.S. The company was presented with a plaque for their donation by Marshall.
Madison Mayor Paul Finley said, "The Safe Haven Baby Box provides a vital resource to our community, especially for the most fragile of our numbers," He added, "We hope if ever the situation calls for use of the Safe Haven location at Fire Station 1, any mother-in-crisis can be assured their little-one will be cared for by the trained and compassionate hands of Madison Fire and Rescue. We extend sincere gratitude to the Kids to Love Foundation for leading fundraising efforts for this cause and thank everyone involved in establishing this Safe Haven location in the City of Madison."
Finley also thanked the Council, Kids to Love and the Madison Fire and Rescue Service firefighters who will be on this endeavor's frontlines.
Monica Kelsey founded Safe Haven Baby Boxes and has built boxes available to parents in 15 states, including now Alabama.
Kelsey, in her speech, said to an emotional crowd this had been her life's mission because, in 1972, her 17-year-old mother was raped and became pregnant. After giving birth in 1973, when options like the baby boxes were unavailable, Kelsey was abandoned just two hours after birth.
The Kids to Love Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of foster children. Since its incorporation in 2004, Kids to Love has reached more than 310,000 children in foster care, meeting their needs for everything from toys and clothing to college scholarships and trauma therapy. Kids to Love is a licensed Child Placing Agency in Alabama that offers private adoption services. For more information, visit our website at www.kidstolove.org.
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